PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Three months ago Palm Springs Organica opened its doors knowing full well it was violating a city ordinance, operating as a non-permitted medical marijuana dispensary.
"Sometimes when you believe in something that's right, it goes against what some other people think is right, and just gotta do what you gotta do, and I firmly believe in this," said Charles Pace, director of operations at Palm Springs Organica.
Pace's belief in the medicinal value of marijuana may be sincere, but his operation and 10 others working without city permits are being scrutinized by the city. The 11 dispensaries were paid a visit by city inspectors earlier this week.
"We are concerned about making sure all electrical appropriately grounded, that the premises appropriately ventilated, appropriate shield on all lights and all electrical equipment," said city attorney Doug Holland.
In the eyes of the city, four of the of the dispensaries, including Palm Springs Organica, had health and or safety issues.
The dispensaries in question received letters from the city indicating their gas and or electric service would be turned off immediately.
"We're not the federal government. We're not somebody who can close them because of them being an illegal drug operation," said Holland. "We have to utilize the tools that are available in our code to enforce our code."
While the city permits three medical marijuana dispensaries to operate and has talked about adding a fourth, this gives Pace hope his dispensary at some point receives the city's blessing.
In the meantime, he's hoping the city backs off on its threat to turn off the lights.
"We're all worried about our patients. It's a patient orientated business. I think everyone thinks it's a cash cow and it isn't," said Pace.